Essay: The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

Analyse how language features revealed the writer’s purpose in the written text(s).

Colour Symbolism: Red black and red – Colours of the and swastika how they relate to the text. White representing the first death in the book thief with everywhere in the scenario being white. Black representing the colour of the sky during the bombings on Hemmel street, “Next is signature black, to show the poles of my versatility, if you like. It was the darkest moment before dawn.” This quote shows that death can come at any time any place, when its your time you can’t escape it. Red obviously represents in this text the blood throughout the text

Book Symbolism: The Gravedigger’s Handbook, The Shoulder Shrug,  A Song in the Dark, The Dream Carrier: How each of these books represents the book and Liesels story. The Gravediggers Handbook represents Liesel first love for books when she found the book in the snow after the book got dropped by the caretaker at her brother Werner’s funeral. (The Gravediggers Handbook representing Death as the narrator) Cross reference to the outside world and how Liesel was determined to teach herself how to read. The Shoulder Shrug has important connections to the mayors wife as when she saw Liesel pick The Shoulder Shrug from the Nazi burning she admired the bravery of a little girl who loves reading instead of a rebellious kid. (Book also represents Liesels rebellion against the Nazis) Cross reference to Anne Franks diary and how history will never leave. The dream Carrier shows in the text when Liesel was trying to wake up Max when he was asleep. She would read to him “The Dream Carrier” every night. It also represents Liesel caring Max’s dreams so he can wake. (Book that she steals)

Death (War, narrator, Liesels shadow/fan):

Maturation of Liesel Meminger

  1. Initially what would you imagine a person who steals books to be like?
    Untrustworthy? Mysterious? Evil? How does Liesel differ from your initial notions of who a “book thief would be”?
    Personally If someone were to ask me what would i imagine a book thief would seem like  would say a book thief would be a reckless and someone what of an evil person. However Liesel is presented different than what I said as the time she was stealing books it was at the start of World War Two where Nazis were burning books so I guess Liesel stealing them wasn’t as bad.
  2. Explain how these early experiences in Liesels life would have affected her as a child? What do these early references to Liesel indicate about how she is going to interact with others? What will be her goals/ objectives in life? What conflicts/difficulties may she have as she matures? 

    I can imagine that a lot of damage was done to Liesel  after everything that happened to her for example when Liesels brother Werner basically died on her lap and her own mother had to abandon her. We saw and noticed that damage did occur to her life through this, she wasn’t exactly an open book when she first met Hans, Rosa and Rudy. I would imagine after everything that happened to her she would have a lot of trust issues with new people. In my opinion her objectives for the rest of her life was just to live and be happy  with the the people in her own life never forgetting the people that brought her up. Hans, Rudy etc.

  3. Why are books and words so important to Liesel? How does she learn that
    words can be used for good and for evil?
    Books and words are important to Liesel as it gave Liesel an outlet to distract her from the chaos that occurred a lot in her own life. It gives Liesel a sense of accomplishment as we see her not being able to read when she was 9 years old at the start of the text and we even see her sense of accomplishment as she grows to go from not being able to read to constantly leaning new words  and reading 24-7. Words to Liesel is one of the most important aspects in her life even when we see her grown up we see her working at a library. All those books meant something significant towards Liesel for example “the Gravediggers handbook” this book gave Liesel a gate way if you like to her past with her own mother and her brother.
  4. Why does Liesel vow that she will never kiss Rudy?
    Liesel vowed to never kiss Rudy as she feels noting more with Rudy than a very good friend

Characterization – Rudy Steiner

Rudy Steiner at the beginning of the text was a nine year old German boy with bony legs, sharp teeth and lemon yellow hair. Rudy was also a very active child, he dreamed of being like Jessie Owens, who was at that time the fastest man alive with four gold medals in the Olympics of 1936 held in Munich Germany. because of these events Adolf Hitler was not impressed and refused to shake the African Americans hand. This however didn’t change Rudy’s thoughts on Jessie Owen. For him i think he believes on equal rights and did not approve of what Hitler did towards an athlete that works hard to where he was and to get treated like that is outrageous. From this it would be understandable for Rudy to not think the best of Hitler and the rest of the Nazis. Jessie Owen was always an inspiration to Rudy. So much so one time he pretended he was him covered himself in mud to look as dark as he could and then ran that 100 m track as fast as he could and pretended the crowd was screaming “Jessie Owens”

Another aspect of Rudy Steiner I found interesting in the text is that he is a perfect example of “ideal Nazi” Rudy had lemon blonde hair, sea blue eyes and both parents were German. For me I saw a different side of Germany in World War Two representing the poor and sad side of Germany. We saw in the text that not all Germans agreed and were happy with what their leader of their country was doing.

Significantance Connections To The Books In “The Book Thief”

The Gravedigger’s Handbook:

The book “The Gravedigger’s Handbook” that Liesel takes this book from the snow after the apprentice for the funeral dropped it, at her brother. “The Gravedigger’s Handbook” was the first book that Liesel stole and we saw that it would be the first of many.  Werner’s funeral has quite a big significance Into Liesel as a character. For me personally I see that the Gravedigger’s Handbook represents the narrator death as from what we see as the audience death started following her when her brother Werner passed in front of her eyes and that just so happened to be when she picked up “The Gravedigger’s handbook” in the snow at Werner’s funeral. This book represents death in another aspect as This book follows her throughout the text for example when she hides the book underneath the mattress and when she sometimes slept with it in her arms.

The Shoulder Shrug:

The text “The Shoulder Shrug” is the book where Liesel rescued from the Nazi book burning. it was known as burnable as it had a Jew protagonist. This may be the reason Liesel was very accepting towards Max when he entered the Hubermann household. When Liesel took the book she hid it inside her jacket I found personally that was a good use of symbolism showing that words can have a physical impact on people and whilst still burning so from that we saw she cared about the words in the book. The book “the shoulder shrug” represents rebellion against the Nazis as all the Nazi wanted to burn every book that mentions Germany in a negative way.

A Song in the Dark:

“A Song in the Dark” is a text in which Liesel once again stole from the Hermann’s. Liesel read “A Song In the dark” during the bombing attacks. When Liesel started reading she brought peace to everyone in the shelter. Everyone stopped crying talking and worrying and decided to listen to her story. The book in a way became Liesel’s accordion for Hans absences after he got sent away.

The Dream Carrier:

“The Dream Carrier” is the first book that Liesel steals from the Hermann’s. After Liesel is given a note from Frau Hermann saying they are sorry they can no longer pay to have their washing done, Frau Hermann gives Liesel this book as a gift. Liesel doesn’t want the book because is so angry at them for canceling Rosa’s job she doesn’t want it as a gift. “The Dream Carrier” is a text about an abandoned child who dreams of being a priest. I find that this relates to Liesel and max as they are both survivors in the situation that they are in. With Liesel that lost her whole family and Max that has to be put in hiding as he is Jewish. This text “The Dream Carrier shows symbolism to both of them as new beginnings. 


Characterization – “The Book Thief”

For each character, include what we learn about them at the beginning of the text. Include quotations that support this presentation. Then include how the characters develop as significant events/changes occur in their lives (again include quotations to show these ideas). What occurs in their lives to cause these changes? Lastly, include what characters’ dialogue, actions, and behaviors teach us about them? What do these details also show about people or human nature in general?



In the start of the text “The Book Thief” By Markus Zusak Liesel was a  innocent 10 year old German girl and throughout the text we see her grow into a confidence young lady around 15 at the end of the text. Liesel presents in the text trust issues at that start. An example of this is when she first arrived at Hemmel street (Heaven street) when she was sitting in the car unsure about coming out as days before hand she lost her own brother Werner in front of her eyes and the same day she said goodbye to her own mother for good So you would expect her to be having struggle having confidence and having average trust issues to enter a new family after all that. Hans Hubermann is the one who ends up getting her out by gaining as much trust as he could do in a short amount of time aswell as Liesel may of been  thinking  that she   she has trust as at this moment in time she had nobody else so in a way she had nothing to lose. Another example of Liesels trust issues in the text “The Book Thief” 


In the text “The Book Thief” By Markus Zusak Hans Huberman presented passion and careful person. I found that Hans had a big influence on Liesel change in the text I found that Liesel deserved someone like Hans Hubermann someone who can she could talk to about everything someone to distract her from everything that was happening in the world An example of this is when Liesel first stayed the night at the hubermann when she was putting her to sleep he noticed



Death & Colours

Task 1: What do EACH of these colours represent in these pages? What do they show is taking place? What atmosphere or feeling is created around the characters and events through this colour imagery? What do the colours make you think of?

Black – Black is well represented throughout this text for example when we the quote.  “Next a signature black” Hitler created a revolutionary symbol that left a mark on the world forever. Black in my opinion the perfect colour for this brought darkness, a depressing time for humanity.  

Red – Red in this text obviously the colour choice of blood shed. At the end of the book after liesel’s town was bombed, blood of her loved ones flooded the street, evidently death saw boiling thick red skies everywhere

White -In this text for me white had an amazing perspective of innocence Liesel is young, travelling to a strange place for an unknown reason. Her brother has died, which she could not control and she does not have enough experience of the world to make entire sense of his death and her circumstances; she is just broken.

Task 2: Death says, “When I recollect her (Liesel, the “book thief”), I see a long list of colours, but it’s the three in which I saw her in the flesh that resonate the most…Red, white, black. They fall on top of each other. The scribbled signature black, onto the blinding global white, onto the thick soupy red.” Consider the Nazi flag during World War Two and its construction. How does this reference to colour relate to the image of the Nazi flag in World War Two? Why would this image define so much about Liesel and her experiences in the text?

The Nazi German flag defines a lot of Liesel for me not because of the symbol it creates but I find the colours of the flag really do represent her as a person throughout the text. the red backround represents for e the blood that has been shed all around Liesel’s life with Hans, Rudy, Rosa and even her own brother. The bland white showing the cold wintery snow when Liesels story started when her brother met death when he stared into her eyes when liesel brother passed. Then the center with the swastika representing the darkness of World War 2 when Liesels story is based.

Task 3: Use the additional references to white, black and red in the text: the
description of Frau Hermann, Rudy covering himself with charcoal, Max
hidden in the darkness and the fire burning books. Select relevant
quotations and explain what these colour references show in these sections of the text.

For me personally I find black was well presented in this as it shows a white blond haired, blue eyed German boy Rudy doesnt care about the fact that Jessie Owens is black his only intent was to be like an inspiration. Black was well presented in this as it shows even full German people have respect for other races and not judging them on the colour of Jessie Owens skin not like what Adolf Hitler did at the Olympics.

The Book Thief – Quotes

Death – “I am haunted by humans”

In the text “The Book Thief” Markus Zusak shows us a different side of death when he says at the end of the text. “I am haunted by humans” To me this shows that death as emotion. In a way he feels cursed by who he is. He witnesses men, women and children like Liesel Meminger

Exposure – Wilfred Owen

How is the idea of “Exposure” (being dangerously exposed to the natural elements/weather)Represented in the poem? We first see the danger of exposure in this poem through the title as exposure means to be exposed to extreme winds and temperature. Through the first sentence we feel the harshness of the winds that Wilfred Owen experienced when he said “In the merciless iced east winds that knifed us. The images that we can see through this quote is that Wilfred was trenching through terrains with savage winds making the men struggle to stride, from the east as the wind knifed, this is meaning that the wind was sharp & strong.

A second example of “Exposure” in this poem written By Wilfred Owen is in the third paragraph where he says “Clouds sag stormy” This quote is implying that the clouds were sagging low as a storm. I think from reading this that Wilfred believed he was near to the eye of the storm. Another example of Exposure in the same paragraph is when he says “shivering ranks of grey” from reading this I believe that Wilfred is implying that ranks of grey are the ranks of solders striving through these wintry conditions freezing.

Another example of exposure in this text is in fourth paragraph, line 3 where Wilfred Owen says “Sidelong flowing flakes that flock, pause and renew” In my eyes from reading this quote I think this is showing that the strong fast snowflakes are skimming through the wind sideways “knifing the men” with the snow storm pausing at certain moments and renewing with even worst blizzards.

“Pale flakes with fingering stealth come feeling our faces” This quote by Wilfred Owen in the fifth paragraph I think this shows the meaning the pale flakes representing the snow. In my eyes I think that fingering stealth resembles when a sow flake lands on a finger it quickly fades away away.


Language Techniques (feat Jayden)

Simile: For the example given “Watching, we hear mad gusts tugging on the wire, Like twitching agonies of men among it’s brambles.” We see use of a simile. I feel that this is used to show how violent the wind is. As if it was men trying to escape it to save their lives. Struggling to escape it’s painful grasp. Yet it is just wind. Trying it’s hardest to sweep through and get to the men who have hunkered down for the night. The simile is used to show the vicious force of the wind. The poet can compare this because it was something he had to experience every single day. He had to see and hear his fellow soldiers be trapped in the barbed wire.


Personification: In this example we see personification. A language technique being used in the text “Exposure” when Wilfred Owen says “Merciless iced east winds that knife us” This quote is giving the cold sharp snowstorm human like abilities, knifing something or someone, cutting and wounding them. This is placed in this text as the situation that Wilfred was in with the cold and the storm makes the wind drag the snow ride to remarkable speed and strength allowing to reach human abilities making the snow painful when it strikes.


Emotive Language: In the example “Dawn massing in the east her melancholy army.” We see not only Wilfred Owen misses home and is in a depressive state but that his fellow soldiers are also home sick and wish to go back home to their loved ones. This use of Emotive Language lets us feel their pain and misery That they have endured during the war. It lets us know how they wish for the war to end and how they are saddened by the idea of never returning to their peaceful home.

Anthem for Doomed Youth:

What is included?: Consider the selection of words/vocabulary in this poem. Why have specific words been chosen? How do the words affect our understanding of what is taking place?

In my opinion I think the poet used good use of vocabulary. The Title “Anthem for Doomed Youth” this shows and example of the youth that was put in war and fight and see things that in my opinion no one at that age should see. From this title alone it makes me understand what time was like with youth going to war and, from this it also makes me feel sorrow for the youths family members like parents sibling ext.

In the first sentence the poet Wilfred Owen who also made Dulce Est Decorum Est we can feel an anger from the poet when he says “What passing bells for these who die in the cattle” Bells would toll after someone’s death to announce sorrow to the world. Wilfred is disgusted by the fact that men, young and old are just left in a country they don’t know and are surrounded by other men who aren’t in close relation to them.

We can see from the text that Wilfred Owen  has a value of religion. The language in this poem Wilfred Owen has many words that are very related to religion. Example of this is when the poet said “can patter out their hasty orisons”. Orisons means prayer, through this we I saw that Wilfred is saying that taking the war lightly is wrong, prayers must be properly done because what other things should people turn to; praying seems to be the only hope that the men will be safe.

Wilfred Owens, the poet has used many language techniques in this poem Anthem for Doomed Youth for many different reasons, such as showing his feelings about the war during its current place. For example in this poem we see a simile language technique used “these who die as cattle” this brings the idea back that the men are being treated like cows. One dies, just get another one is the notion. from this alone we can tell that this is clearly not fair to the men and their families.




What Has Been Included?: Dulce Et Decorum Est

What images are presented in the text?

Dulce Et Decorum Est written by Wilfred Owen: The images that we can see through this text are: The way war can be very stressful and tiring. we can see this through the first paragraph where it says”Bent double, like old beggars under sacks.” through this sentence we can see a a simile comparing solders in WW1  to old beggars under sacks from that we can tell that the men are exhausted and walk hunched. This would be caused because of constant walking through mud and not getting enough sleep a normal person should have.

Language Techniques 

  • “As Under a green sea” A simile comparing the poison that got them to a ocean this language feature shows that the solders in this text got bamboozled by a large amount of poison “drowning” them.
  • “He plunges at me guttering, choking, drowning” A listing language technique used to build understanding for the reader on what the scenario is. In this case we see that someone is struggling to survive through this gas and is more detail on what is happening. Each word expanding on what the character is going through.
  • “Gas, GAS! Quick, boys!” This quote is a Imperative language technique giving a command, making the reader of this poem feel something major has happened. In this example we can tell from this that they were caught out of no where with I believe by reading this poem, poison gas. Also for by reading this I think that it was a sergeant making this quote with his commanding way of words.